Building A Solar House
Buildings that are called “green” or “environmentally sustainable” are designed to use energy as efficiently as possible. In Missouri, Washington University’s Tyson Living Learning Center achieves sustainability by incorporating green technologies in different ways, including the use of solar panels. In this activity, students will explore how solar panels work by building a simple circuit, a series circuit and a parallel circuit, using a solar panel to light a bulb and comparing which method yields the brightest light. Then students will build a solar-powered house using a shoebox, and test some variables to determine the most efficient way to harness solar energy to power a model home.
Grabbing a Bite to Eat
In this activity, students will perform an experiment that replicates the dilemma that birds face in acquiring food from a confined area. Students will be given a variety of objects to use as “tools,” and will explore various ways of extracting the food item from an enclosed shoebox without directly using their hands. Students will compare and contrast which tools worked best, and use problem-solving skills to design and develop unique methods for extracting the food item from the shoebox.
In this activity, students will discuss the various methods by which pollination can occur in flowers or plants. Students will dissect and identify the different parts of a flower, hypothesize the function of each part, and discuss the importance or relevance of each part to pollination.
The Once and Future Car
This week, news emerged of a self-driving car being researched by Google. We’ll look back at other ‘cars of the future’ and what happened—or didn’t happen—to them.
The Color Of Flowers
In this activity, students will perform an experiment to find out where flower colors come from. Students will extract petal juice, use acid and base indicators, and observe chemical reactions to investigate how the amount of acid or base influences the color of a petal.
Lighting Up Celery Stalks
In this activity, students will conduct a series of hands-on experiments that will demonstrate how the working of these veins, known as capillary action, enables water to travel throughout the length of a plant. Students will learn how the forces of water cohesion and adhesion contribute to the process of capillary action.
Happy Birthday, Buckyballs!
Twenty-five years ago this month, researchers first identified buckminsterfullerenes — chemical structures shaped like tiny carbon soccer balls.
Cooking with Chemistry
Chef Wylie Dufresne, the owner of New York City restaurant wd~50, experiments with food, literally. He has lab notebooks detailing what certain chemicals do to certain dishes. One of his signature dishes is a spin on eggs Benedict: he found that creating the plate’s centerpiece–a cube of fried hollandaise sauce–required a lot of scientific testing. Science Friday stopped in at Dufresne’s kitchen to see how he prepares the dish.
Tiny Dancers Show Rhythm’s Roots
In perhaps the cutest study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, psychologist Marcel Zentner and Tuomas Eerola found that babies will spontaneously boogie.
How To Make A Junk Guitar
So you want to jam like a rock star, but you don’t want to shell out for an electric guitar? Make one yourself.